I grew up with chicken booyah. While my family didn't make it, just about everyone else's did. Of unconfirmed Belgian origin, you'll find it in the peninsula of Wisconsin that juts into Lake Michigan and the surrounding area where a concentration of Belgians settled. The easiest way to explain booyah is like this: quarter a couple of stewing chickens and simmer them in a large pot until the meat falls off the bones and the bones break open releasing the marrow and you have at least a gallon of stock.Read More
Chili is always the first meal of the holiday season for me. One of the great holiday traditions in my family is having a pot of chili on hand the day everyone arrives for the holidays. My grandmother started this when I was little. If you were among the first to arrive, you got to enjoy the company of a small gathering of extended family in relative quiet before the holiday got into full swing. If you arrived later, you got my grandmother's undivided attention and a bowl of chili that had been simmering on the stovetop since mid-afternoon. I was the last to arrive one Christmas, rolling in from Madison at about 11:00 PM. My grandma was waiting up for me, and she and I watched Johnny Carson together over a bowl of some highly concentrated chili goodness that warmed my heart.Read More
Today is the first day of October, and while the vernal first day of autumn was a week ago, today it is indeed autumn in earnest at a slightly chilly 50 degrees and just barely sunny. My counterpart and I spent the day in the kitchen working on an appropriately seasonal meal involving pumpkin and game. The game was rabbit in pear reduction with mushrooms and creamed leeks plus pate on the side. The pumpkin was one of the simplest and most satisfying soups ever.
First, you need a fresh pumpkin.
Go to your local pumpkin patch - there are a lot of them selling this time of year.
Pumpkins this size will give you enough for soup and still have some left over for pie.
You will also need a 5-pound roasting chicken.
Quarter the chicken and place in it a large pot of water to stock.
Wash the pumpkin, cut it into quarters and remove the seeds.
Roast on the center rack of a 365-degree oven for about 90 minutes.
Then set aside to cool.
Add some onion and leek to your chicken stock.
When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, strain your stock.
Return it to the pot and add some curry and white pepper.
Skin half of the pumpkin, cut into large chunks, and add to the seasoned chicken stock.
Add just a little heavy cream - a couple of tablespoons is about enough.
Use an immersion blender to smooth it out.
Taste it and add more of whatever you think is missing.
If you add more pumpkin, use the blender again.
Add a couple of dried chilis - you can find these at Latino, Asian or Indian grocery stores- and let the whole thing simmer for about 45 minutes.
Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.